And this is how she felt now, she felt that she had finally arrived. Most of the animals had definitely started to have faith in her. They lived in a secluded little forest, among the many islands in the sea, this one was the greenest and the closest to land, a city , they called by the name of Iktara. She knew out of memory, because she had been around once when a ship had anchored there for a day, and humans, young men, and women had ventured into the island, calling it by this name. To them, it seemed habitable but were conscious of not spoiling it, or making it known to too many. They seemed to be scientists, studying life forms in water. They found these waters interesting , as it was rich in marine life. 

Myrina knew that she was a tigress with a difference. Affectionately called May, her parents had always felt that she was a mismatch to the tiger tribe that she belonged. Gentle and forgiving, she was confident of herself. She knew somehow that she was blessed. There was a strong guiding force within her that would direct her in responding to all situations that she came across. She was a warrior in her own right. She felt that maybe she was a descendant of a herbivorous peace-loving race. Of a race that believed in the purity of mind and intentions. Occasionally when she was tricked into violence by her father, the brave, and much-respected tiger, who was a feared king of the jungle, she felt cheated. She knew she had to assert her own way, and not kill to be made to feel powerful. Survival was important, so she helped herself to plants and fruits, abundantly available in the forest, and still felt strong enough. 

But there was a cold war ensuing between the marine creatures and the forest animals. The hippos, crocodiles, sea lions, the sea otters and others were at one time friends with the land dweller creatures. But now it seemed they did not see eye to eye. Each time the zebras came to have water or enjoy being at the waterfront, the crocs would try and attack them. Myrina wanted to promote peace, she did not want to fuel feelings of animosity among all the creatures. After all, it was not for them to fight amongst each other. She felt that the monkey clan and a few others were stoking the fire and were in no mood for encouraging any reconciliation. She knew they were caged in their own small thinking.

The monkeys would not allow the rest of the wild-woods to know about Myrina’s good intentions. Somehow they were happy creating malicious talk about her. It so happened one day that a dazzle of Zebras strolled towards the embankment to drink water. It was a hot day, and troops of apes, a herd of elephants, donkeys, deer and others had come down to the seafront to enjoy the water and have a friendly chat. It was an unsaid rule of the forest that once they were there quenching their thirst, none would attack.      

The crocs, fierce creatures, dreaded by most, also decided that they would not attack when the animals came together to quash their thirst. But  Legarto, a vicious crocodile, who had no regards for the regular norms, and would love to flaunt them in a horrendous way, caught hold of a foal’s leg and pulled it down into the water. The baby cried for help, and just as May, who was hovering around in the shadows, pounced to save it, Ziller, the foolish ape yelled out aloud, calling for all the animals to beware of the tigress that she was there to attack. Alas!! the little baby zebra fell prey to Legarto’s greed, and a new growing life was snuffed out forever. A loud screeching wail tore through the heart of the forest, the inconsolable mother, could not remove herself from the banks of the waters. The Zebras, her friends and family, stayed on to be by her, condolences ensued, and slowly, sadly, they moved away, leaving the mom and dad to deal with the loss. 

May, dejected and mournful, knew that if the ape had not got the Zebras to hurry away from her, their little baby would still be alive. The clever crow flying above saw the despondency in May’s eyes and even heard her mumble to herself grieving the loss, and wishing Ziller had not behaved in such a savage and cruel manner. But for him, baby stripes would still be alive. The crow managed to pass this story far and wide into the thickets. In order to create truce between land and sea creatures May thought she must have a plan which included taking the help of others, so that  the animals would know when to save their fellow creations. She did not know yet when this kind of help would be required. 

Well, the day did arrive. The humans appeared again, and once again for their research on marine life, or so May thought. Except that this seemed like a noisier crowd, with more people and they were littering the place like most humans were so notoriously known to do . She was aghast when she saw two of them stabbing in the sea with spears, and one of them got so excited when he had stabbed a fish, and all cheered at his catch. They drank, were loud, danced to music, and cooked and ate up the fish they had caught. All of this broke May’s heart. And just as she was going to get help from other animals, to create a scare so that the human gang would scram from the island, and know that they should never ever venture down here ever again , the clever crow, Sig, who was now May’s friend flew towards her in great urgency. He dropped some terrible news down on her. He told her about one of her dear friends being attacked by Legarto, the crocodile.So now May just needed to make a quick decision. Here, to terrorise the humans, she roared her fiercest roar, and got her sea lion friend, Wakahoo, bring in the sharks to circle around in the close vicinity of the banks, to scare away the party goers. And, sure enough, off they went! That was done in a jiffy. They cleared the island, though leaving the place filthy and scattered.

Wakahoo’s little pup, who was enjoying some friendly time with her friend, a baby dolphin, on the other end of the banks, fell prey to teasing by the zebra, who was waiting for a chance to take revenge. Wakahoo, and his family were one of the friendliest and helpful sea animals in that island. But the zebra’s were not concerned. They had to take revenge. May, rushed and got the elephants in to negotiate, and also, her parents, the first couple, there for effect. Though she did implore her father not to get angry or create any more violence. He would be there only to create an impact, to which he did agree. He did see that his little girl had grown, and was impressive in her actions, indeed.

And so the elephants marched on to the embankment. So did the group of hippos swim towards the shore. The deer, wolves, and others, all came in. This got the zebras, to stop their provocation. They had irked the little pup enough for her to yelp out loud and create quite a commotion. But in came Legarto, and his gang, to escalate the problem. It was the elephants who rushed in and immediately got the little ones out of the way. It was May, who came up and encouraged silence and a dialogue. She asked why would they attack each other out of some old animosity. She determinedly got the zebras, crocodiles and all the others to acknowledge that they must maintain peace. The presence of the king and queen of the jungle, roused respect and gratifying remarks from all the animals. And for now, they all went back to their respective places , promising peace and geniality among each other.    

3 thoughts on “Animals of the forest

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